Midnight Train to Arkham

November 20, 2015:

Nightwing finds out Bluebirds plan to work in Arkham Asylum undercover..

Characters

NPCs: Thug, scared woman

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The would-be rapist doesn't last long, not once Nightwing arrives on the scene. He'd been making his way towards Bluebird's neighborhood - when her alter ego had let his alter ego know that she would be out of town for a while, it raised a few alarm bells. They'd just had their first real breakthrough on the Professor Pyg case and she was suddenly going out of town? That didn't sound much like her.

Then he'd heard the screams and he'd veered off course to do the work. The war never ended, after all. The woman had already fled, gathering the shreds of her clothes sand running off into the night. Nightwing spins and kicks hard, driving his foot across the side of the man's face hard enough to make it bounce off the nearby brick wall, crumpling to the ground in a heap.

Nightwing kicks the switchblade on the ground, skittering it iunderneath the dumpster and out of reach. "Scumbag," he mutters.


So, text message, note.. email.. whatever. It was sent off with the request to keep an eye on Cullen Row while she was absent. She couldn't leave him hanging, grocery shopping and pre-packaging food and buying things that he could make himself without burning the house down.. well, most of her time was spent doing that. Oracle was possibly ready with her new identity; and now it was time for her to check in. It was going to be a long and hard road of course, but she was going to make it through with the guidance of the O in the sky.

She heard the screams as well, her bike already parked and running to the location, jumping over debris and piles of wood that remain stacked for the garbage men to grab in the morning. Rounding the corner into the dark alley; a welcome sight in the form of Nightwing caused her to grin beneath her mask upon approach. Scumbag was right, that's why she didn't flinch when she drew her taser pellet to toss upon the mans back, sending him into a flurry of shocks that immediately render him unconscious.

"Ya' gotta stop doing that, Wing-boy." Bluebird sneers, jokily. "All of that monologing. Batman doesn't monologue, just because he doesn't do it doesn't mean you /have/ to." She takes a step forward, gloved hands reaching out to snag the pellet from him, only to toss it into the garbage. He was out, no need to do any further damage by leaving it on him. "Guess that lil' toy worked out well."


Dick Grayson raises an eyebrow behind his mask and then kneeling down, drawing out a zip tie and pulling the scum's hands behind him. A quick snap and he's bound up, cuffed and stuffed and ready for the lock-up. He taps the bluetooth in his ear for a moment, a quick series of finger-flicks to switch to the proper channel, "Code 932 in the alleyway near Grant and Ennis. Female victim may still be out on the street, may need counselling. Subject is disarmed, unconscious and ready for pick-up. Over," he says. The cops on the channel sputter to try and respond but he's already gone, cutting the channel off before they ask how he got on their radios.

"Let's talk," he says. He draws out his grapple and shoots it up to a nearby roof, offering a hand for her to grab onto so he can pull them up, up and away.


"Oookay.." So, he was rather cold tonight. Possibly due to the fight that he was just in, not that the thug was any match for him at all, or one of the bats to begin with. She dials back the jokery as he calls the situation in, one brow lifted, the other lowering just a touch as she lets out a huff of breath. His need to talk? That.. really didn't sound well. Even though she wanted to talk with him as well..

Reluctantly, she reaches out to take his hand, frowning beneath her mask which easily reflects in her eyes. "You drop me, I'll haunt you for the rest of your days.."


Dick Grayson draws her in against his chest and looks at her for a long moment, "Don't worry, I won't drop you," he says, a little more warmly. He wasn't angry at her, just a mingling of curious and wary. She was a smart girl, but she still had more guts than brains. And he didn't like the idea of those guts getting spilled anytime soon.

They zip up to the roof quickly, his arm clamping on her lower back, cradling her against him with one arm, showing fairly intensive strength. When they land, he manages a trademark grin, "And he monologues more than you think he does - he just doesn't do it as much in front of new people. Wants to keep up his sense of mystery, I think," he says.


Harper looks up towards him as he pulls her in, her eyes lowering just a little as she clears her throat and looks away. "Okay.." She mutters dumbly, drawing her arms around his neck, one knee hitched to curl a leg around his to make sure that she was stable as they lift off into the air. It was then that she uncurls, landing upon her feet, taking a slight staggering step backwards to disengage from the close hold. That was a little bit awkward, but.. hey. What could you do?

"Yeah.. you ever play Assassins Creed? He kinda pegs me as the type that runs around screaming.. 'Where's Charles Lee!' And stuff like that." She moves to the edge, looking over and out along the city before she turns to ask, shoulders lifted.. slightly tense. "So, what did you want to talk about?"


Dick Grayson shakes his head, his dark hair a bit grown out, reaching a hand up to tuck it behind his ear. "Never really felt the need to play video games of running around rooftops ambushing guys from behind. Seemed a little on the nose," he says.

He considers what to say - he can't exactly say "You told my secret identity you were going out of town and I know that's bullshit". So instead he purses his lips and plays the 'experienced detective' card, "You're up to something. I'm not sure what, but something's going down, something you're not telling me. Not that you owe me to tell me everything, but if we're going to be partners, it's going to be a lot harder if we don't work together on things," he says. "You haven't talked to me about the case in a little while, and you've usually been up in my grill about it. I have to assume that means that either you've found a new lead of your own that you're working - or something else entirely is going on."


Harper points at him, not once, but twice.. trying her best to hold back a chuckle and shakes her head. "Good point." It really was one. She had to appreciate the similarities.

Though, once he came right out with his suspicions, she visibly winces, drawing her arms around herself then drops them down again, straightening herself out to show a little confidence in her decision. If Oracle was helping her, then she knew that she was doing the right thing. And in the end? Everything will pan out, she just has that type of faith in herself and the 'system', in her mind.

"Hah." She barks out, cutting the air of awkwardness. "Yeah.. I got a new angle. I've been meaning to tell you but I kinda had to clear up and clean up a few things first." She rolls her shoulders, putting her hands up. "Now, you're going to think that this is crazy.. buuut.." She pauses, for dramatic effect. "I got a job at Arkham Asylum. Well I will have a job. Oracle is setting everything up and working out all of the fixings. I think in about.. a day or so I'll be on the grounds and be one of the working few. Cool, right?"


Dick Grayson listens for a moment, his poker face not immediately revealing his thoughts about the plan. Which means there's a lot of interiorized yelling, some mild ranting, a prolific amount of swearing but it's all contained in his head. Bruce's training at controlling your emotions really was top notch - nothing made Batman angrier than an impassioned outburst of sentiment. Dick had learned to bury his feelings inside almost entirely by the time he was fourteen. He was a fucking ninja master of repression nowadays.

"Okay," he manages to say evenly. "I'm sure you've anticipated the obvious lectures about the dangers involved. We only just found out that there's a direct connection to Arkham involved in the Professor's plans and now you're willingly sticking your undisguised head into the boar's mouth. I presume undisguised, since I doubt you got the job wearing a mask?" he says. Still, he had to admit it had potential and she was certainly showing initiative. It was the kind of thing he might've done himself, frankly, once upon a time.

"Not without backup, you're not," he says at last.


"Yeah, yeah. I got it all. Anticipated it all too. We're good on this front. I got this." Harper bumps a fist against her chest, a grin showing within her eyes as she finally drops the smile to add in a serious nod. "Yeah. I'm working on something to change my face a bit, something that'll stick. And I won't have the blue hair you're looking at now. Think I may just go blonde, since they seem to have all the more fun, y'know?"

She begins to pace now, a little purse upon her lips. "I got back up. I plan on having Oracle in my ear the entire time and we're going to do this the right way. I'm not going to ruffle feathers or shake things up. I'm going in there to look, listen, study. I know what I'm doing. So relax, alright?" She pauses just a little. "I was kind of hoping you'd be out here, I wanted to ask you when I did catch up with you before hand to keep an eye on a few people for me to make sure they're alright."


Dick Grayson purses his lips, "Oracle's good, but she can't do much but call us in if something goes wrong - and unless we're nearby, we might be too late to help,' he says. Still, he's voiced his objections and, much as he worried about it, he also had to concede she had the right to do her own investigations. He wasn't Batman and he wouldn't start bossing people around that way. It was that sort of behavior that had once driven him away from the Mansion and the tights in the first place years ago.

"I just want you to be careful, that's all," he says more softly. "And, of course, I'm happy to do so. And I'll likely keep in touch - whatever means you have to contact Oracle, I want the same access, even if I'm not going to be sitting at the computer 24/7 like her."


"And I'm going to make sure you two don't have to call in help. I'm not just some kid who's.. new.. well okay. I'm new at this, yeah. But I'm smart. And I'm lucky she put me in a job that I know how to do. Maybe while I'm in there I can make a little bit of improvements to help folks out in there." She takes a step closer, her head tilted slightly. "Trust me, it's going to be a win-win. We really can't go wrong with this."

She does nod, one eye winking. "You got it. I wouldn't mind having you both in my ear during, keep me calm and on task." She pauses a little. "Two people. Dick Grayson and Cullen Row. Two important people, really. You don't have to interact with them just.. lend an eye or something. Help Oracle with looking after them. They won't be too much trouble.." Though that time with Dick Grayson.. it.. was touch and go.


Dick Grayson raises an eyebrow, "Cullen I understand. Why Grayson? Seems to me the rich boy can look out for himself," he says. He isn't really fishing, but he does genuinely wonder. As self-confident as he is and often seems, he has his own insecurities where such things matter. He has no doubt that he's good looking, but he also knows that just good looking isn't the sort of thing that you feel the need to protect.

"And never say nothing can go wrong. That's always the first sign that something will," he says. Yeah, he's going to have to check up on her, whether she liked it or not. Just for his own piece of mind.


"Well. I actually like Grayson. He saved me and.. well, has always treated me well, you know?" Was she blushing? Probably not. Okay she was, but it was rightfully hidden beneath her mask. "I just want him to be alright." There was true concern there in her voice, immediately hidden away by a huff and an idle shrug of her shoulders.

"I grew up on no hope. Pretty sure I can make it in and out rolling with the punches." She reaches out to give him a little jab upon the arm, even putting up her fists to duck and dodge just a touch to lightly tap the other arm as well. "Relax, Wingboy. Don't make me say it again, cause if I gotta, I'm going to mess up your pretty hair."


Dick Grayson smiles, "You can mess up my hair anytime you like, shocker," he says, playfully returning the tap on the arm. "Don't worry, I'll keep your little brother and your pretty boy in good shape. It's your shape that I'm concerned about."

"And not just from Pyg - Arkham's dangerous. A lot of the people in there are demented in ways you can't even imagine - it might be dangerous just talking to some of them. Just about anyone in their is likely to slit your throat for any reason that springs to their mind - and there's no predicting what those reasons might be."


"Careful! That pretty boy may just get a little angry with you being concerned about my shape and all. Not sure he'd like that." She teases, then grasps her arm, doubling over in pain and hopping about upon the roof, she stops though, then slowly begins to nod.

"I've.. heard stories, you know? Like some of the worst of the worst are in there with really no hope of ever getting out. Like.. some of them don't even know what's real and what's not.." She twists her lips faintly. "I'm .." She hesitates for a little, just now realizing the weight of what she was going to do. But she wasn't going to outright admit that she was afraid, she had to save face. "..gonna keep my head down and just listen. I'll play mute if I have to."


Dick Grayson shakes his head, "I think I can handle it," he says, amused at the idea that she wanted to protect him from himself. He cocks his head at the pain, frowning as he moves over to help steady her and try to help her sit down for a moment.

"Don't play at anything too strange. Mute, mad, beautiful…anything that could get their attention is bad. You want to be boring. You want to be forgettable. It's natural to show them fear, they're fearful things - they'll take it as a challenge if you're not. But don't make your fear too attractive…ah, it's a delicate balance," he says.


His little quick move to help her causes her to rear back and lightly press a jab to his jaw. Nothing that hurt, just a quick little push with a press of her fingers. She takes a quick step aside, trying her best to at least divert or keep upon her toes, listening to the advice he gives with a slight nod of her head.

"Be Bluebird, but don't be Bluebird too much. Be cute, but be ugly too. You're going to give me a complex, Wingboy."


Dick Grayson sighs and crosses his arms, keeping his distance if that's the way she wants it. "Good. You need one, if you're going to survive in there. I know it sounds like I'm henpecking, but I've fought too many of those lunatics, for too long, to ever take them likely. In case you haven't noticed, the security at Arkham's pretty lax. THey escape a lot - which means god knows what they manage to get up to unseen on the inside. If they can't stop the big things, then they're certainily missing the little ones. Assume they're all dangerous. Smuggle in a weapon if you can - I'm sure you can manage it, as you point out, you're clever."


So, Nightwing wasn't up for rough housing, which was well and good. She needed to do something to show that she really was close to losing her nerve about going in there. But if he would do it, Batman would do it, so she was going to. No more talking herself out of it.

"Okay.. okay.." She states, then gestures down below. The little electrified pellets were her little invention just for this job. After all.

"But.. yeah. I'll call you, alright? I need to make a surprise visit to pretty boy to tell him to look after you and Cullen." Cause, a cop looking after a vigilante is a good thing. "He's a cop, you've probably talked to him before." Beat. "Or.. at least I think you have. And he is. Who knows." She chuckles softly, then gives a slight wave. "Think I'll take the elevator. You nearly gave me whiplash."


Dick Grayson raises an eyebrow, "Lots of looking after going on. I think we'd all agree that looking after you is pretty high on our priority list," he sighs. "I don't mean to be a nag. I just want you to be safe, all right. You're going into the belly of the beast," he says.

He goes to the edge of the roof, perching with that athletic ease and grace that comes so naturally to him. Now he was going to have to try and get back to his apartment before she did and then pretend that he didn't just see her on the roof. Such is the double life of a Gotham bachelor.

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